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Measuring how risk tradeoffs adjust with income

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  • Mary Evans

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  • V. Smith

Abstract

Efforts to reconcile inconsistencies between theory and estimates of the income elasticity of the value of a statistical life (IEVSL) overlook important restrictions implied by a more complete description of the individual choice problem. We develop a more general model of the IEVSL that reconciles some of the observed discrepancies. Our framework describes how exogenous income shocks, such as unexpected medical expenditures, may affect labor supply decisions which in turn influence both the coefficient of relative risk aversion and the IEVSL. The presence of a consumption commitment, such as a home mortgage, also alters this labor supply adjustment. We use data from the Health and Retirement Study to explore the responsiveness of labor force exit decisions to spousal health shocks and the role of a home mortgage as a constraint on this response.
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Suggested Citation

  • Mary Evans & V. Smith, 2010. "Measuring how risk tradeoffs adjust with income," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 33-55, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jrisku:v:40:y:2010:i:1:p:33-55
    DOI: 10.1007/s11166-009-9085-x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dora L. Costa & Matthew E. Kahn, 2004. "Changes in the Value of Life, 1940--1980," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 159-180, September.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas Kniesner & W. Viscusi & James Ziliak, 2010. "Policy relevant heterogeneity in the value of statistical life: New evidence from panel data quantile regressions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 15-31, February.
    2. Vincenzo Carrieri & Edoardo Di Porto & Leandro Elia, 2011. "Risky jobs and wage differentials An indirect test for segregation," Working Papers 144, University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Public Economics.
    3. Joseph E. Aldy & Seamus J. Smyth, 2014. "Heterogeneity in the Value of Life," NBER Working Papers 20206, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Cameron, Trudy Ann & DeShazo, J.R., 2013. "Demand for health risk reductions," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 87-109.
    5. Doucouliagos, Hristos & Stanley, T.D. & Viscusi, W. Kip, 2014. "Publication selection and the income elasticity of the value of a statistical life," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 67-75.
    6. W. Viscusi, 2010. "The heterogeneity of the value of statistical life: Introduction and overview," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 1-13, February.
    7. McManus, T. Clay & Schaur, Georg, 2016. "The effects of import competition on worker health," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 160-172.
    8. Kochi, Ikuho & Taylor, Laura O., 2011. "Risk Heterogeneity and the Value of Reducing Fatal Risks: Further Market-Based Evidence," Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(03), pages 1-28, August.
    9. Matthew D. Adler, 2016. "Editor's Choice Benefit–Cost Analysis and Distributional Weights: An Overview," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 10(2), pages 264-285.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Value of a statistical life; Risk aversion; Consumption commitment; Labor supply; Q51; D01; J26;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects

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